UPPER ARLINGTON, Ohio (WCMH) — Education Secretary Betsy DeVos said Thursday it’s not a matter of if schools reopen but really a matter of “how schools must reopen safely.”

DeVos was in Upper Arlington for a round-table discussion at Tree of Life Ministries.

She has said that schools that do not fully reopen should not be eligible for federal aid.

Columbus City Schools and Athens City Schools have announced they are considering the possibility of online only classes in the Fall due to the increasing number of COVID-19 cases.

DeVos explained the pandemic has created a moment in time to advance the cause of school choice.

“Education is a promise that we make to students and their families and we need that promise actually kept,” DeVos said. “We want to make sure that students can continue learning in a full-time, full-on, high expectation environment.”

“We think it’s important that schools look at all of their students and know that for some families, if the right choice and the right situation is five days full-time in-class learning, then that really has to be an option for families.”

DeVos said details of reopening are best left to a local community and local school. She stressed, several times, the importance of in-person learning.

“These are formative years and we know that for many students, 100 percent online learning simply isn’t tenable,” DeVos said. “We know that schools can do what it takes to keep students and teachers safe and all of the data has continued to indicate that children are best in school whenever possible.”

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